DSM Takes Sunshine’s Photovoltaic Assets
DSM has acquired the technology and other assets of Suzhou SunShine New Materials Technology, a Chinese manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (PV) backsheets. The deal follows a commercial alliance that was formed between the two companies in March 2016. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The acquisition expands DSM’s portfolio to include Sunshine’s polymer backsheets, which are based on the Chinese group’s patented technology. Sunshine’s co-extrusion technology eliminates the risk of interlayer adhesion and is said to have superior performance compared to laminated products. Backsheets enhance the performance of PV modules by increasing their durability and output.
Oscar Goddijn, vice president of DSM Advanced Surfaces, also noted that Sunshine’s process does not use fluorinated materials. “As a high-end, cost-effective, non-fluorinated and fully recyclable product, this backsheet fits very well into DSM’s overall product portfolio and sustainability strategy,” he said.
Building on the success of its anti-reflective coating, DSM said it aims to commercialize a portfolio of innovative products focused on lowering the cost of solar energy. The Dutch group explained that while solar-derived energy has become an important source over the past decade, its levelized cost of energy (LCOE) – the primary measure for the cost of electricity produced by a generator – is still too high and must be reduced if it is to become more cost-competitive versus fossil fuels.
China is the world’s largest producer of PV modules and also has the greatest demand for PV backsheet coatings, according to DSM. Jianguo Wu, director of the Chinese National Center of Supervision and Inspection on Solar Photovoltaic Products Quality (CPVT), said the country’s solar module production rose from 43 gigawatts (GW) in 2015 to more than 75 GW in 2016, and is expected to exceed 100 GW by 2020, the end of China’s 13th Five-year Plan.